Child support payments are the responsibility of any individual who either admits paternity or when a DNA test reveals that he is the father of a child. Most states do not excuse missing child support payments and the Administration for Children and Families reports that while these payments often get deducted automatically from wages and other financial sources, many who owe child support end up in arrears, or back payments.
Child support arrears have a variety of consequences and learning how to avoid falling into this kind of debt can improve the lives of everyone involved.
Tax refund reductions
Individuals in child support arrears are usually subject to having any tax refunds seized and used to pay back child support. Offsets for both federal and state taxes, where applicable, can occur. The Internal Revenue Service can seize any refund when arrears exist, even if the individual responsible works sporadically due to self-employment or frequent travel.
Bank account holds
If back child support is not attained via regular wages or tax refunds, the state may move to freeze an individual’s bank account. This includes checking, savings and any type of retirement account the debtor holds. This may cause automatic payments to other debts to fail and ban the debtor from paying rent and other important bills.
If arrears are not attainable through any of the means above, the government may allow a child support office to seize any physical property owned by those who owe arrears and sell it to satisfy back or missing payments. This includes businesses, real estate and items of value.
Child support offices need not involve any judge or court to authorize the seizure of money or property, depending on the case. They may also prevent the sale of any property by the debtor.